There’s no doubt the ever-changing restrictions and policies surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak have had a significant impact on millions of lives around the world.

Physical and mental resilience is important for those of us trying to lower anxiety levels and maintain fitness goals while in isolation.

However, it’s important to follow safety and social distancing guidelines too. So, as many of us settle into our new routines, we’ve compiled a guide on how to stay upbeat and fighting fit, even if you’re working from home for the foreseeable future.

Eat well

With commutes and in-person meetings no longer taking place, many of us will use working from home as an opportunity to get more done. However, it’s vital you don’t skip meals as not consuming enough food during the day can cause dizziness, low energy levels and poor moods, due to a drop in blood sugar levels.

Eat regular balanced meals and if you need a snack, try a handful of nuts, a hard-boiled egg or berries, when you’re feeling peckish. These are all superfoods known to boost memory, and productivity, so you won’t feel that 3 pm ‘energy slump’ in the afternoons.

Caffeine has been shown to improve mood and brain function. However, drinking too much coffee (over 4 cups a day), can have a negative impact on the body. So, if that’s you, why not swap some of your usual daily caffeine hits for red bush tea?

It contains antioxidants, which are important for a healthy heart and may also keep cholesterol levels in check.

Work out – from your desk

If you’re working from home, follow the 55/5 rule – for every hour you sit at your desk, spend five of those minutes moving around. Not only does this limit how much you’re sitting but studies suggest regular movement boosts creativity by 80-100 percent.

There are plenty of simple, yet effective exercises you can do at your desk too.

Try doing leg extensions under whatever table you are choosing to work from. If your job demands a lot of sitting, regular leg extensions will help prevent muscle degeneration.

Maintaining a 90-degree upright seated position, lift your leg and then straighten it in front of you.  At the top of the movement, flex your feet, to ensure all your leg muscles are engaged. Continue this while alternating legs.

A good arm workout is the isometric ‘desk curl’. Placing your inverted palms underneath your desk, press up from underneath. Engaging your bicep muscles, attempt to ‘curl’ your desk to your chest.

Stretch it out

People sat at screens all day are particularly prone to RSI’s like carpal tunnel syndrome. An effective preventative exercise is the palm press.

Place your palms together in a prayer position but extend the elbows away from your body. Lower your hands downward and pause when they begin to separate. Hold this position for 30 seconds and rest. Be sure to do at least three repetitions for maximum effect.

Stretching is the body’s way of relieving tension and the standing forward bend is a good place to start. From a standing position, bend forward, hinging at the hips and if possible, bring your palms or fingertips to the floor in front of your feet. If this isn’t possible, cross your forearms and hold your elbows.

Get outside

When you can, go for a walk. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes, you’ll raise your heart rate, get some fresh air and a Vitamin D kick. Your body will appreciate the boost in stress-reducing hormones.

If you can’t get out for a stroll, try jogging on the spot for 5 minutes. Try 60-second sets, with a minute’s rest in between to get the heart pumping.

Practise stillness

When you’re feeling stressed, close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Start by counting ‘one, two, three, four’ as you breathe in and ‘one, two, three, four’ as you breathe out.

Controlled breathwork helps slow down the heart rate and calms the body’s fight or flight response.

There are also plenty of apps available to guide newcomers into a state of relaxation through mindfulness and meditation, which have been proven to reduce stress, improve sleep and increase focus.

Finally, try essential oils, like Lavender, Bergamot and Geranium, all of which create an aromatic calming effect on the body. Try adding a few drops in a bath before bedtime, to help alleviate those restless nights.

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